Man enters Co-op 'with no thought of shoplifting' then nabs £6.99 bottle of wine

Nicholas Grist leaves Cardiff Magistrates' Court
-Credit: (Image: Conor Gogarty)

A thief stole a £6.99 bottle of white wine from a Co-op store "on impulse". Nicholas Grist, 45, targeted the supermarket in New Road, Porthcawl, on April 18 having gone in "without any thought whatsoever" of shoplifting, his solicitor said.

Prosecutor Eurgain Lloyd told Cardiff Magistrates' Court that Grist entered the shop at 4.10pm and soon aroused suspicion among staff, who looked at CCTV and saw him putting a bottle of wine under his top. He made no attempt to pay before walking out. After staff approached him and retrieved the bottle, he was "very apologetic", Ms Lloyd said.

Grist, of Trecco Bay in Porthcawl, pleaded guilty to theft. He had 45 previous offences on his record, including five for theft. His solicitor Tim Lewis told the magistrates: "He acted on impulse. He has gone in without any thought whatsoever [of shoplifting], and he's seen a bottle of wine. It wasn't his intention but he's seen it and he's thought, 'I'll try to pinch that.' It obviously didn't work out for him. There's no financial loss to the shop.

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"He had been staying out of trouble. His last offence was in September 2023 so he's been doing much better and this is a bump in the road. Given his almost 12 months out of trouble, and given my client is in receipt of state benefits, you might consider a conditional discharge. This would hang over his head, and he knows he needs to get back on the straight and narrow."

The court heard Grist was already paying £20 a month out of his benefits on debts to the court. The magistrates chose to impose another fine rather than a conditional discharge. Presiding Justice Cheryl Bowen said he would be fined £40 for the latest theft and must pay £85 in prosecution costs and a £16 victim services surcharge, continuing to pay at a rate of £20 a month. "Yeah alright lovely, thank you very much," said Grist to Ms Bowen, giving her a thumbs up before leaving the courtroom: "Sorry for wasting your time. Bye."